5 ways a company can start its sustainability journey

If your company wants to start its sustainability journey and you are not sure where to begin, here are 5 quick tips to get you started.

Solar panels. Photo by Red Zeppelin

Make your energy contract a green one. So many energy companies now offer the option to have a renewable energy contract instead of a fossil fuel one. Go one step further and change that old gas boiler to an electric one. Knowing that all of your computers, your kettles, hot water and lighting are powered by wind, waves and solar can be empowering in its own right and could form part of your internal communications.  

Change your default search engine. Very few realise that search engines emit about as much carbon as the global aviation industry. Google alone emits 500kg of carbon every second. However there are two new search engines that are designed for the good. Ecosia plants a tree every time 45 searches are made and Ekoru puts money towards ocean conservation projects every time a search is made. Plus both run on renewable energy so there are no carbon emissions. Set up all of your employees computers up so their default browser is one of these.

Ewaste recycling. Photo by vilmar simion

Recycle or pass it on – This doesn’t just refer to recycling your drinks cans as much as this area is needed, this also refers to when you have an office refit or you are replacing software such as laptops. The aim is to ensure nothing goes to landfill. Globechain acts as a mediator between businesses wanting to get rid of office equipment and charities that need it. Whilst Jamie’s computers, a local Southampton social enterprise, takes in old laptops and PCs, refurbishes them and then resells them with all profits going to the local homeless charity. It also offers homeless people to learn new IT skills so everyone benefits. One company’s waste could be another company’s piece of gold.

Go paperless. Of the 17 billion cubic feet of trees that are deforested every year, over 60% of the wood acquired goes to producing paper that we usually use for printing, using for all of 2 minutes before throwing it away. Going paper free will need a strategy in place to answer all the questions such as how do you sign and send back a document, how do you brainstorm, how do you visualise something off the screen. Like anything though, there are so many solutions already out there for many of these issues from e-signing features to using Mural to help with brainstorming. If you really need to use paper then make sure you buy FSC certified or 100% recycled paper. 

Tea pickers. Photo by Ian Wagg.

Responsible sourcing. Many companies such as Unilever have very strict criteria in place for their end to end supply chain surrounding sustainability from workers pay to carbon emissions (not just their direct suppliers but their whole supply chain back to where products are sourced from). How much do you know about your supply chain? Do you buy products that are harmful to the environment e.g. cleaning products or print cartridges? Do you know where your suppliers source their raw materials from? Do your suppliers pay their workers fairly throughout their whole supply chain? Is your tea Fairtrade? Are your cleaners being fairly paid? Although time consuming initially, once you are set up, choosing suppliers going forwards will be so much easier. 

These are but a few of the long list of things that you will need to look into if you are going to take the sustainability route. Get in touch if you are interested to find out more about what your company needs to do to head that way.